President’s Corner: Milestones

BY SETH SCHAFLER, WJC PRESIDENT

December 8 marked a truly momentous event in WJC’s history. We officially installed Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz as only our third Senior Rabbi since WWII.

Hearing from Rabbi Arnowitz’s mentor, Rabbi Aaron Krupnick of Congregation Beth El in Voorhees, New Jersey—who also happens to be Marla Segelman’s brother-in-law—made it clear that Rabbi Arnowitz not only is a perfect fit for our community and a gifted spiritual leader, but that his coming here to succeed Rabbi Segelman was meant to be; or as my mother would say, “bashert.”

The heartfelt tributes that Rabbi Arnowitz received from his study partners reinforced what we could see in Rabbi Arnowitz from the start—that he is someone who is constantly learning and striving to improve himself, thoughtful and compassionate, truly loves teaching Torah and being a Rabbi, and works hard every day to bring the spirituality and wisdom of our tradition down to earth to enrich our everyday lives. The warm feelings between Rabbi Arnowitz and Rabbi Segelman and their extraordinary teamwork in this transition period were clearly on display.

We are truly in great hands with the dynamic duo Rabbi Arnowitz and Tami, and blessed to have their family in our midst. We look forward to learning, davening and growing with them for many years to come.

Many people deserve thanks for making the Installation such a moving experience and resounding success, including Rabbi Arnowitz for his vision, our Rabbinic Transition Co-Chairs Sarene Shanus and Suzie Miller and Committee Members Veronica Hogasten, Jeff Lavine and Mia Mandel; our Installation Committee Co-Chairs, Jeff and Jennifer Lavine, Ilana and Howie Moskowitz, and Rachel and Scott Aronow; our 613 Mitzvot Committee, Jacques Steinberg and Sharon Weinstock and Jonathan and Virginie Berg; our Executive Director, David Goldstein and his staff; our Facilities Manager Jose Luis Fonseca and his staff; and Kitchen Manager Patty Becerra and her staff. Fabulous job by all of you!

With this milestone behind us, we turn ahead to the next major events at WJC. Our exciting and renowned Scholar-in Residence, Rabbi Sharon Brous, will be with us February 7-9, 2020, and will address the critically important subject of Reclaiming Religion. And the Gala honoring Rabbi Jeffrey and Marla Segelman will take place on May 17. That is sure to be a very memorable and bittersweet event and a fitting tribute to Rabbi Segelman.

In addition, over the next few months, we will be moving forward on our Endowment Campaign, which is well underway. We ask for your support in this campaign to give WJC’s future leadership the flexibility they will need to innovate and meet the needs and challenges of the future. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

On behalf of myself and Robin, I wish you and your families and loved ones a Happy (Secular) New Year!

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